Svetlak is the iScanner Product Owner/Developer with more than 10 years of experience in IT. iScanner holds the top positions in the App Store as the most reliable scanner app in the U.S. 60,6M Downloads on Android and iOS.
Where did the idea for iScanner come from?
In 2014-2015, we saw the impressive rise of Utilities on the app market and decided to take a close look at this category. Surprisingly, there were almost no solid scanner apps. Like many other growing companies, we were looking for ways to optimize our internal processes, mainly document management. So, our search for an all-in-one solution for our business needs resulted in creating iScanner – a simple and quick scanning app that does a perfect job at digitizing documents. Then we went further with developing some advanced features for docs editing, signing, and exporting.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My secret to a good productive day is careful planning. Sure, I think long and hard before pulling anything over my team. I split my work time between daily and weekly goals and set tasks according to them. But flexibility always remains crucial in our business: we have regular calls with the team, keep monitoring the market 24/7 and make shifts in our planning if we see a good reason for this.
By the way, all my personal tasks are noted in Excel. A bit of old school, huh? But this helps me to evaluate the time I spend on job tasks now and , later on, I just open the doc and see all the records for the past two years. Comparing and analyzing helps to increase my productivity.
It’s a well-known fact that every person’s productivity depends on the time of day. I’ve been doing a little bit of experimenting to figure out my perfect time for working on the most challenging tasks. Planning has become an essential part of my life, and not only professional: now I use Google calendar to track my sleep, physical activity, and plan get-togethers. This really helps me stay organized and keep a work-life balance.
How do you bring ideas to life?
The truth is that it’s absolutely possible to get insights from anywhere! All ideas for our iScanner come as “What if?”, then we carefully analyze them before putting them to development. We pay much attention to statistical analysis, surveys, market research, a/b tests, etc. – everything to be one hundred percent sure that this is a vital idea and our users wait for getting it realized.
What’s one trend that excites you?
From my point of view, the most promising trend is AI and ML. The idea of smart algorithms, which make it possible to go beyond simple tasks, is very appealing to me. They possess a huge potential and the fields where they can be used are enormous. For example, it helped us bring documents’ border detection feature in iScanner, and that’s a start!
In the meantime, another company came up with AI technology that generates real jokes on Twitter. Isn’t it cool! By the way, Apple trumped the market with this. AI is definitely one of the things iOS supports better than Android.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I believe that the most important is to be open-minded, and to remember that there are always ways to improve your product.
You should always trust your teammates’ expertise and give them some freedom to experiment. This spring, during the period of lockdown, we rearranged our Product Manager department switching towards an R & D model. This challenging time showed that society needs to accept new rules of living and for us, it was the time to take action and introduce new features to our product. For example, we felt that teachers and students needed some support at that time and brought “Math Solver,’ which became quite popular not only among educators.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t worry, everything will be great! Just never stop and keep going. It feels so good to rise above your fears!
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
The development of business apps can be as interesting as the development of entertainment applications and games. Again, this is all about being open to the new. It often happens that Product Managers don’t want to work on such products as they find them extremely routine. However, there’re plenty of challenges here. Simply use your imagination!
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Listening to your inner voice is of paramount importance. Nevertheless, it’s also important to listen to your team and take into account your users’ opinion. Pay your utmost attention to team’s and users’ opinions. They all can give a whole new way of looking at the product.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
The thing here is working in several directions simultaneously. First, you should always follow the recent trends in the market and aim to become a trendsetter in your industry. If we talk about business mobile applications like scanners (with more than 200 apps of almost the same functionality available to download), it’s essential to be the first in following trends and implementing them in the app. As it happened with AI, and as it’s going on now with widgets. Second, you should be ready to invest generously in marketing. It’s impossible to reach a wide audience without spending on promotion. However, marketing pays off only if your product is really good. And probably the last (but not the least): always be open to new ideas and experiments. I mean at all levels and stages: product development, marketing, company internal processes, etc.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Oh, I have a story to share! Some time ago we made a decision to redesign one of our apps. The concept seemed flawless to our team and to the custom developer. We were so keen on this idea that we started to run out all the updates at once, one after another, packing it with UI and UX changes. New users, who just came to the app, really liked it. But those who stayed with us for some time were frustrated with such a huge number of changes. Sure, negative reviews came pouring in, but we couldn’t undo our mistake, the new users already loved the app as it was.
Still, we found a way out: we introduced a nice, clear visual tutorial for our old users and worked a good deal to handle negative reviews. From that moment on, we started to introduce the changes within the app gradually: starting with the visual part and then presenting the functional updates.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
It wasn’t 100$. For just 30$, I bought a set of resistance bands for strength training at home. And they are brilliant! If gyms get closed during the lockdown, it doesn’t mean we should completely stop training. Be open-minded and look for alternatives.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Apart from iScanner, I use Google calendar for planning, Excel, and Notes. These are the basics, I believe. I tend to assess all tools on the basis of their practical use and effectiveness. If I spend more time trying to install and configure the tool than actually performing a task it is supposed to help with, something isn’t right.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I give a chance to many books but finish few. If a book lacks any significant ideas, I put it aside. But those that I’ve read from cover to cover, I find extremely useful. For me, the possibility to put knowledge into practice is more important than the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake.
What is your favorite quote?
“Let’s try it out!”
- I believe that the most important is to be open-minded, and to remember that there are always ways to improve your product.
- You should always trust your teammates’ expertise and give them some freedom to experiment.
- Listening to your inner voice is of paramount importance. Nevertheless, it’s also important to listen to your team and take into account your users’ opinion. Pay your utmost attention to team’s and users’ opinions. They all can give a whole new way of looking at the product.